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Old 09-05-2017, 09:06 PM   #1
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Kelp advice?

We've had a few experiences going through passages shallow and narrow enough where avoiding kelp was impossible, but they were small patches and nothing bad came of it. Were we lucky?

Next summer we intend to visit an area with much more kelp. Any advice on what could go wrong and how to avoid it? What about if things do go wrong?

Single prop, 3.5 foot draft, probably late July / early August, north coast BC, Canada.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:13 PM   #2
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Well, there's a couple of things you can do. Firstly, kelp is edible, so you could literally eat yourself a passage through the thick of it. Secondly, sea urchins eat kelp, so if you packed a ready supply of sea urchins to work ahead of you, they could clear a path.
Seriously though, what about rope cutters on your prop shaft? Doesn't clear the way out front, but might prevent a tangle..
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:20 PM   #3
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Just watch the engine temp gauges, if you heat up your intakes are blocked or your raw water strainer has picked some up and needs the strainer basket to be cleaned out. Usually you can run right through it with no problems as the pieces are big enough they won't enter the raw water intake.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:21 PM   #4
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Well, there's a couple of things you can do. Firstly, kelp is edible, so you could literally eat yourself a passage through the thick of it. Secondly, sea urchins eat kelp, so if you packed a ready supply of sea urchins to work ahead of you, they could clear a path.
Seriously though, what about rope cutters on your prop shaft? Doesn't clear the way out front, but might prevent a tangle..

Hey! Been a while!!

We got as far as Calvert Island during this years summer vacation, and looks like we'll round Cape Caution after retirement. You coming north?

Heard lots of references here to people avoiding kelp...wondering if it was because it indicates shallow water or if the kelp itself was the issue?
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:23 PM   #5
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Just watch the engine temp gauges, if you heat up your intakes are blocked or your raw water strainer has picked some up and needs the strainer basket to be cleaned out. Usually you can run right through it with no problems as the pieces are big enough they won't enter the raw water intake.
Makes sense. Thanks
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:29 PM   #6
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Never had any issues with the kelp, but it does hide logs and debris that would be visible if it weren't in the kelp. There is little chance of it entangling the prop, but it hides things like pieces of netting and lines... Lots of mats of free floating kelp up here, also in water over 100' deep but attached to the bottom.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:57 PM   #7
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Never had any issues with the kelp, but it does hide logs and debris that would be visible if it weren't in the kelp. There is little chance of it entangling the prop, but it hides things like pieces of netting and lines... Lots of mats of free floating kelp up here, also in water over 100' deep but attached to the bottom.
More good points.

I've heard it's the fastest growing thing on earth, so it doesn't surprise me it grows at 100' depth. Supposed to be at its worst in late summer, which makes sense.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:08 PM   #8
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Gone through lots of heavy kelp like the bend in Rocky Pass AK. Never had a problem w it on the Willard.

If you want to go through a kelp infested channel do it at high water, dead slow or even bump it in and out of gear like in a moorage fairway.
Having a rounded or very deep V bottom tends to part the kelp to each side. Boats w flat bottoms, even single screw and rounded chines, are more vulnerable to kelp/prop problems.

Obviously the ability to dive and cut kelp is an asset.

Never tried this but if the kelp pacth is small and thick one could approach it at about 4 knots and just before the kelp cut the engine off in gear. Coast through the kelp and restart the engine.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:37 PM   #9
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Having a keel-protected rudder and propeller can't hurt.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:19 PM   #10
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Murray,

Cheers Bud! We had a few problems with Kelp plugging up the genny intake this season. But nothing that effected the Main.
We found that getting underway, and moving some water under the hull cleared the kelp from the intake and all was good.
The kelp was pretty bad up in SE Alaska but not bad in Canada. Just gotta watch while in anchorage for the big leafy stuff.
Tom has a theory, but then again, he gots a theory for most things.
Me, if I see steam I shut it down.

Cheers Bud!
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Old 09-06-2017, 12:27 AM   #11
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Hi John...glad to hear you warmed up recently. Getting close to 3,000 NM are you?

Thanks for the tip...will watch temp gauge like a hawk while squeezing into hidey holes in the Estevan Group next summer.
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:26 AM   #12
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If it wraps on the prop many times a quick shot of reverse will clear it.

Each time you get to clear water a bunch of throttle will usually rip it loose from both prop and rudder..
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Old 09-10-2017, 12:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
Never had any issues with the kelp, but it does hid'e logs and debris that would be visible if it weren't in the kelp. There is little chance of it entangling the prop, but it hides things like pieces of netting and lines... Lots of mats of free floating kelp up here, also in water over 100' deep but attached to the bottom.
Murray- Best of the advise to date. Kelp itself is not the issue of major concern as stated by others, you can munch your way through, your fathometer and chartplotter should be telling you what's below in terms of bottom.
We, you and I are slow enough that the surprise factor should be mute. It is the visual lookout for the drift within the kelp. Often pieces of drift look just like the Bull kelp which is the kelp we are discussing, are entwined with the actual kelp.

Last month installed a auto pilot. Thank goodness for the 'Dodge' factor just for those moments where this drift material jumps out at you.

Good luck on the trip Murray, know you guys enjoy the voyages however limited during employment years.

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Old 09-10-2017, 01:27 AM   #14
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Hi Al,

Good point about 'stuff' in kelp. I'm sure your eyes are peeled like mine when you go through the lines of floatsam which collect where currents meet. Never know what may be lurking in there...

Yeah, stoooopid job absorbs time out of my Life!
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:52 AM   #15
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I've ran thru and into thick kelp beds for years with no problem till this year.
Sucked up some kelp into the raw water strainer.
Come to find out, I had a kelp bulb plug the ball valve port!
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:44 PM   #16
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A good stand of kelp will knock down seas and swells. I've found several good open anchorages behind kelp. You have to have good strainers. Doesn't seem to hold long on the wheels.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:51 PM   #17
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Someone needs to market a nice serrated blade that mounts on your boat hook so you can knock off the big pieces from your rudder post and your anchor lines in the morning, I bet they could sell a few of those...
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